February 27, 2010

Maoists Unleash Orgy of Violence


THE Maoists unleashed an orgy of violence when they attacked the East Frontier Rifles (EFR) camp at Silda in the West Midnapur district of West Bengal. Of the 36 jawans present at the time of the attack, the Maoists massacred 24 and left 7 others injured. Their main motive appears to be to loot the armoury apart from terrorising the area and making a blood-soaked statement with impunity that they shall defy all joint operations by the central and state forces to restore peace and normalcy in the area. The Maoists looted around 40 sophisticated firearms.

The attack took place in broad daylight on the day of the weekly bazaar, “haat”, that assembled near the camp. West Bengal director general of police has gone on record to state that the jawans found it difficult to retaliate fire in the fear of collateral damage as thousands had gathered for their weekly purchases. The West Bengal state government has ordered an official enquiry to establish if there was any case of intelligence failure or other factors which could have possibly prevented such an attack. This attack has only redoubled the resolve to put an end to this mindless violence that has gripped the area generating terror and anarchy.

On February 9, the union home minister had convened a meeting of the chief ministers of West Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar at Kolkata to discuss joint operations that need to be launched by the respective state forces along with the central forces to combat Maoist violence. By now it is clear that Maoist squads move across the borders of the adjoining states in order to avoid confrontation with the police and paramilitary forces of one particular state after they mount an attack in the other state. Since law and order is a state subject, the forces of one state cannot operate in the other except when explicitly permitted to do so. In order to prevent the Maoists from taking advantage of this situation to carry out their violent terrorist attacks it is necessary that all the four state governments and the centre act in unison to combat this menace. Media reports suggest that even in this attack on the EFR camp in Mednipur the Maoist squads returned to their hideouts in Jharkhand after the attack.

After the February 9 meeting the union home minister had publicly told the Maoists, “Once you halt violence, we are ready to talk to you. My earlier appeals were spurned by them and we had to continue with the operations and if the appeal is spurned again we will again start operations”. With this outrageous attack on the EFR camp it is clear that the Maoists have once again spurned the appeal of the union home minister. Repeatedly in the past the prime minister has stated both on the floor of the parliament and in public that Maoist violence constitutes the gravest threat to India’s internal security. It is time to meet this threat squarely in the interests of the nation and the people.

The Trinamul Congress continues to play footsie with the Maoists as clearly demonstrated by its chief unwilling to name the Maoists as being responsible for this attack. This despite the fact that the Maoist leaders themselves have publicly acknowledged in the media that they are responsible for this attack and this was their answer to the joint operations to be launched by the centre and various state governments. That the Maoists reciprocate the Trinamul Congress’s softness became clear when their spokesman informed sections of the media that the Maoists “will not attack or target the Trinamul Congress”. Two days before this attack on the EFR camp, the Maoist leader of West Midnapur announced, “We have decided that there will be no action or punishment of any kind against Trinamul functionaries”. A few days earlier Maoist leader Kishenji had extended support to the Trinamul and welcomed its leader’s move to demand the withdrawal of security forces from West Midnapur. (Asian Age, February 17). By now it is well-known that the Trinamul Congress has openly called for a halt of all operations by security forces against the Maoists so that the latter can continue to terrorise the people through their violence and browbeat them into opposing the Left Front in the forthcoming elections to the state assembly in 2011.

The union home minister had earlier sounded a little sympathetic to the Trinamul Congress demand when he said on February 9 that “she (Mamata) is concerned that the general people would be affected by the joint operations and it is a genuine concern. We have to take note of her concern and we would act accordingly.” With this latest outrageous attack it is clear that the Maoists are bent upon perpetuating their violence and are finding a high degree of solace and comfort to carry out their murderous attacks given the stand taken by the Trinamul Congress. The Congress Party and the UPA-II will have to take a call on explaining to the people how a union cabinet minister can act in defiance of the prime minister’s public utterances that the Maoist violence constitutes the gravest threat to India’s internal security.

While the Maoists have decided that they would not take any action or punishment against Trinamul functionaries, they have so far since the general elections murdered in cold blood 168 cadre belonging to the CPI(M). All these comrades belonged to those very exploited and oppressed classes whose interests the Maoists claim to espouse. The targeting and killing of key CPI(M) cadre is part of the gameplan to terrorise the general public and in turn favour the prospects of the Trinamul Congress in the forthcoming assembly elections. The Trinamul Congress is pursuing such a diabolical electoral agenda at the immense cost of human life and spread of anarchy.
Way back on January 15, the Trinamul Congress chief told a public meeting that she was giving a seven day ultimatum to the Maoists to come to the negotiations table. “Or else, I shall launch padayatras to restore peace and rule of law.” Even after six weeks there has been no padayatra and it is clear that such utterances were only for public consumption. Revealing the real motive she said at the same meeting: “if necessary, I shall try my best to prevail upon the union government to meet your demands including withdrawal of joint forces from Lalgarh.” (Telegraph, January 16)

It is clear that such political maneuvering at the cost of bloodshed and at the expense of loss of human life, spread of terror and anarchy, posing a grave threat to peace and normalcy as well as to India’s internal security cannot be allowed to succeed in the interests of our country and the future of our people. It is imperative that the joint operations with the central forces and a coordinated action by the four concerned state governments must be intensified to ensure that peace and normalcy returns to these areas and the threats to internal security are squarely met.

(February 21, 2010)


KOLKATA: The assault led by trained gunmen on the Silda camp of the eastern Frontier Rifles, mostly Gorkha personnel are members of the EFR – has been much in the headline-making lurid thoughts of the bourgeois media. The attack and its aftermath has been covered in what we can only call a fashion ‘more-than-in-depth,’ concocted tales dovetailed to facts - and ‘factions’ added in good measure to bolster the anti-Communist frame of mind of the scions of the ruling classes whose interests the craven and cowardly ‘Maoists’ faithfully subserve.

The attack, we would declare, was not a failure of the state government as Mamata banerjee would love to have us, well-nigh force us, to believe. When things become complex, one side of the two at difference with each other, become fraught with desperation.

Nonetheless we find it necessary contextualise the event, undoubtedly an incident of a very, very tragic variety, in a summary form. The Silda EFR camp has about 100 personnel. They are equipped with SLRs as well as .303 rifles plus other sharp assault weapons. They wear light gray-and-deep gray fatigue style uniform and wear protective headgear. Bullet proof vests are de rigueur only whenever they go out on patrol.

The attack came in the busy market day afternoon of 15 February. This is a common enough tactics of the ruling classes-sponsored ‘urban guerrillas; of the Latin American and the sub-Saharan African countries where, as in the case of the ‘Maoists,’ the gurilleros have always maintained a network of connection with the ruling √©lite of the respective regions, catering to the political command faithfully. During market time, we shall underline, the ruthless attackers can fire away, but not the police nor the para-military forces or ‘paras,’ as they are commonly known as.

The attackers had made repeated recce of the camp grounds, we learnt, posing variously as nautch girls, beggars, ‘disabled’ persons, and even ‘folk singers.’ Sources tell us that this they had carried out for months on end. Thus, the feed-back would be large enough to produce a thick folder of documents including photos. The attackers were at least 100-odd in number, including 20 women, and each armed with sophisticated assault rifles fitted with bayonets, as we found out during our visit to the spot, looking at the dead with multiple injuries, and a series of sad and tragic sights met us, leaving us atremble with pure rage.

Silda is tucked away in between Lalgarh and Belpahari, clearly a zone dominated by the presence of a large stretch of cover-giving forest and foliage, ever-green, so that winter makes no change to the skyline. An afternoon is the time when the morning patrol returns to base, the personnel take off the uniforms, and vests, and helmets, sling up the weaponry on the closets, remove the heavy-soled leathern jackboots, and nurse sore bodies and legs. The evening patrol goes out and away on foot tagged along and preceded by mine-sweeping four-wheelers, deep into the forest bridle paths.

This was the time when the ‘Maoists’ struck. They lobbed a series of patrol bombs or ‘Molotov cocktails,’ on the eastern and southern sides of the camp. As the panic-struck people ran helter-skelter, the killers opened up with whatever they had on hand. The area having been cleared, they then moved in rapid strides inside the camps.

The counter-firing from inside left at least twelve ‘Maoists’ dead, but that did not deter the attackers who shot and bayoneted to death 26 of the paras, systematically looted the armoury, went running to vehicles that had zoomed in from the fringe areas via perhaps a harsh command over Sat-Phones, piled the weapons and the dead murderers on the min-vans, and fled, one group towards Bankura, the other towards Jharkhand. They dragged off the dead attackers as is usual for them.

Seven ministers of the Bengal LF government led by Dr Asim Dasgupta went to the EFR base HQ at Salua the next day, the minute the clearance came from the police. They spoke to the bereaved family members. They assured them of all help, and despite provocation being made by a section of the people there who clearly owe allegiance not to the LF government, there was no such incident of jostle as blared on the television channels and splashed on the media headlines.

The more difficult enigma to unfold is the ‘reason why’ the left sectarians and their lackeys in the rainbow opposition coalition took the political decision to go on such a big-scale military action? Consider the following facts, if you will.

Over the past fortnight, 20-odd top-ranking ‘Maoist’ leaders and at least 50 ‘Maoist’ activists have been taken into custody and interrogated. Raids on hideout had produced laptops full of data on the outfit and its plans of action in the days to come. There has also been a clear caste-based split in the ranks of the killers of late, the Amiya Kundu fraction opposing, with arms, the Karan Hembram splinter. In the echelons of the higher castes, the Mahatos opposed all other high-caste compradres, especially the Vaishyas.

‘Kishanji’ no longer dares speak to the media openly. Another shadowy killer ‘Vikash’ has mysteriously disappeared, and sources believe that he may well have been killed or left seriously injured in a police action last month near Dharampur. The armed split between the now-incarcerated Chhatradhar Mahato-led PCAPA and the ‘Maoist’ squads of the Lalgarh block has come into the open. The metropolis-based ‘civil society’ would prefer Mamata Banerjee, Railway committees, fat perks et al, to the wilderness of politics, members of the ruling √©lite as they very much are.

However, certainly by far the most important factor is that the villagers are no longer fearful of the profile of the ‘Maoist’ gunmen whom they perceive on odd hours along the entire western part of the red clay zone of Bengal. It would be unhistorical to read too much into this as some well-wishers of us have done to the extent that the villagers are seen to be rebelling against the mightily armed marauders. This will ultimately happen – and this is what causes the killers an overwhelming fear to be felt creeping in. In between, the CPI (M) has been active in organising the mass protest leading into mass resistance here and there.

Economics is another factor. The ‘Maoists’ have carried on sans investment a lucrative trade in felling trees, logging them, and establishing a nexus with the forest mafia. This could only be done with at least a reluctant, fear-laden participation of the rural masses. This chain of exploitation has been snapped in very many areas as the tree-cutters, the headload carriers, and the forestry smugglers have learnt that getting cosy with the 'Maoists' was costing them too much—in terms of livelihoods as well as lives.

In the meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee has blamed the state government for the tragedy that unfolded at Silda. The central government in the respective ministry has wondered about a ‘failure’ of the state government. So, what is new?

What is new is the continuously rising curve of people’s anger at the killings going on. This shall be a vastly worrying factor for the guilty whose hands have been seen dipped in the blood of the innocent, too many times now.(INN)


KOLKATA: The demands of the para teachers who bear a bulk of teaching assignment in Bengal have raised certain legitimate demands. The demands have arisen in the backdrop of the decision of the Congress-led UPA government to draw the curtains on the total literacy campaign come 31 March of this year. The decision shall impinge on the financial arrangement and social position of the para teachers who number more than half-a-lakh in Bengal.

The para teachers have appealed to the state LF government to take up the financial responsibility of the teachers once the union governments sticks to its resolve to end the total literacy mission. Bengal CITU president Shyamal Chakraborty has said that he would raise the issue in the Rajya Sabha at the earliest opportunity.

CITU secretary Dipak Dasgupta spoke in some detail at the rally held by the para teachers’ organisation held on 18 February at Dharamtolla. Dasgupta said that in Bengal, the attacks being organised on the para teachers by the goons of the Trinamul Congress and Pradesh Congress added to the ‘norm’ that these two outfits have adopted for te para teachers in the way of not renewing the contract of the teachers in areas where the local bodies are under the thumb of these people.

Dipak Dasgupta also said that the state education minister had already written to the district magistrates and the TLC officials to renew the para teachers’ contract immediately. The state LF government shall ensure that the para teachers do not stand to lose their livelihood. Dasgupta also condemned in strong terms the physical attacks on the para teachers by the lackeys of the political outfits the ruling classes sponsored.

Other CITU leaders and LF government ministers spoke at the rally where financial assistance was extended to the families of the two para teachers whom the ‘Maoist’-Trinamuli hoods had killed at Midnapore west recently.